Years and years and years ago, during a typical 9th grade project, we were asked to research 2 professions we might like to one day pursue and give a detailed report. In theory, the project was meant to help us connect the dots between what we were studying, what college we wanted to go to, and eventually how it would all pave the way to our chosen professions. In truth, it was a fairly 'flat' project (and I'm not speaking in Friedman-esque terms here) that offered little value. Most of us selected professions that had nothing to do with our vision out of boredom (you can ask me about my research on becoming a mortician or a toll booth operator -- ironically, I recall a lot from that research, so perhaps it did make an impact after all these years; mmm...).
I'm of 2 minds when it comes to the connection between school and later work. One, the purpose of education is to be a fully functional adult who can make decent decisions and engage in civic processes, and this includes having a 'role' in life that affords you the ability to pay the bills and be an active member of society. Hence, the job. Two, education is about learning, about asking questions, about being response-able in an ever-changing world, and the 'job' is merely a fraction of the larger self one will create, and therefore not the purpose of education.
That being said, IF I were a guidance counselor helping my kiddos make tough choices about their future, I think I'd want to have some semblance of what the job trend forecasts were...and how closely that aligned with what I was recommending and what our school offered in terms of training, exposure and connections.
I'm curious if there are high school guidance counselors who are reading Fast Company, first, and second reading articles such as "Ten Hot Jobs for 2007" with an eye on seeing patterns forming. I'd recommend reading the entire list -- agree or disagree -- to get the narrative background, but I'll short-cut it here by giving you the list. Maybe you can drop it off at the guidance counselor's office after school.
- Experience designers
- Web designers
- Security systems engineers
- Urban planners
- Viral marketers and media promoters
- Talent agents
- Buyers and purchasing agents
- Art directors
- News analysts, reporters, and bloggers
Now, the million dollar question lies in connecting a typical high school curriculum with a list such as this. Play the odds and look at the underlying trends. Does your curriculum truly set your graduates up to be at speed in career trends such as these?
And man, did you see #9? (he smiles)